Monday, August 18, 2014

Ferguson: My Two Cents

I normally have a great deal of respect for the police; those men and women who risk their lives each and every day to “protect and serve.” But I also know that, like in almost every area of society, there are the good cops and the bad cops. There are cops who are over-zealous; cops who profile; cops who target.

And I know that, in some cases, and probably far too many that I’d care to think about, the police act and react differently to a situation based on the area, the community, and the color of the skin involved.

I am quite certain that, were a police officer to point his gun at me and I were to raise my hands — in that universal symbol of surrender and proof that I do not have a weapon — I’d live another day.

Not so Michael Brown of Ferguson, Missouri.

Sure, a lot’s been said, and then unsaid, about this situation. There are stories, he said and she said and they said, and who said, from all sides, but the fact remains that another young Black men is dead in what seems almost like an epidemic in this country.

Are Black men not allowed to wear hoodies? Are they always suspect? And when they surrender are they always shot?

It appears so. Sadly, and that’s the real issue.

The police in Ferguson were out of control that night, that's clear, and they continued running unchecked for the first few nights that followed; they did things they would possibly never do to a white man in a white suburb; that’s clear. You may not believe it, but you’d be wrong, because, try as I might, I don’t recall a lot of stories where white kids are shot and killed for carrying Skittles and wearing hoodies, and I don’t see a lot of newspaper reports of young white men surrendering and being shot and killed.

I just don’t see it.

And while people can say the police in Ferguson were just doing their job — serving and protecting — it seems quite clear, by any number of witnesses, that Michael Brown, an eighteen-year-old Black man, was murdered on the street.

Sure, there was some kind of kerfuffle between Brown and Darren Wilson, the cop who shot him, but it appears the facts — given by any number of witnesses — state that, while Brown was running away from police they continued shooting at him, and when he turned around, raised his arms in surrender, and to prove he had no weapon, he was murdered in the street.

And then left there. No call to 911; no call to report the shooting. A young man dead in the street and nothing happens ... no calls ... no reports.

Afterwards, the Black community — which accounts for the majority of the citizens of Ferguson — began rioting, and, yes, maybe some were looting. I have never understood how breaking into a store and stealing a TV shows my anger at police, or anyone other than the store owner, but that’s just me. What happened next, however, was surreal...

The local police, of St. Louis, reacted as though this were some terrorist attack and began firing rubber bullets and tear gas even into crowds that had peacefully gathered together to protest Brown’s death. Again I can’t see this happened in a white community; I cannot see police, in riot gear, firing recklessly into a crowd of white citizens who are marching in protest; I cannot see police in riot gear, assault weapons, and assault vehicles, rolling through a white community to “keep the peace.”

Finally, after several days of unrest, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon stepped in and took the local police out of the equation — possibly thinking they were too close to the situation since it was one of their own that shot and killed Michael Brown — and placed the state highway patrol in charge of the situation.

The next night it was quiet in Ferguson.

But people are still thinking about why this happened, and how this happened, and why it happens again and again around this country. If Michael Brown was doing something stupid, even something illegal, even something to provoke a cop into shooting him, you cannot argue that what happened to Michael Brown had nothing to do with his skin color.

I know for a fact that had it been me, or any other white man on the street that night, in any town in America, and I had turned toward police officers, my hands in the air, I would still be alive today.

Not so for Michael Brown, and that’s the issue we need to discuss.

15 comments:

mistress maddie said...

Because Michael Brown had no weapon, makes this most hard. Wonder how this will wrap up with the officer.

Helen Lashbrook said...

The fact that racism is still an issue in our countries is very worrying. And in Fergusson 94% of the police are white in a community where 86% are black. The statistics just don't add up and the reason why is there is a lot of racism in the police, not to mention machismo; ours as well as yours. So anyone who is not white has huge barriers to overcome if they want to be a police officer.

And of course guns are an issue in this situation. Our police don't carry guns (most of the time) so that usually the worst that can happen is being beaten up (appalling although that is from an officer sworn to uphold the law). And I'm sure Michael Brown's parents would much preferred for their son to have been arrested by non gun toting police officers.

designing wally said...

I'm thoroughly disgusted.

viktor kerney said...

this is an injustice

the dogs' mother said...

Hopefully this situation will come fully to light soon and be resolved - as much as we can resolve it -

Professor Chaos said...

They've also arrested and tear-gassed reporters and ordered other journalists out of the area. They don't want anyone to see that what is happening is an armed occupation of a US city. Really scary.

S'A said...

I live 80 miles East of St. Louis in a predominately white (Republican) community. For the most part, I've kept my opinion to myself because people around here tend to believe the misdirections that are being thrown around. I find it disturbing and shameful. All of it.

Biki Honko said...

We as a country need to become color blind. Heck, while we're at it how about religion blind, sexuality blind, gender blind, age blind, and just go forthwith into the future treating everyone equally.

Anonymous said...

Read the evidence from the Grand Jury files before you jump to your own racist conclusions based on hearsay.

Bob Slatten said...

@Anon
Since this post was written over three months ago BEFORE any grand jury convened, it would be hard to read their testimony.
Check a calender asshat, and don't throw around the "racist" word just because you disagree with me, that makes YOU the problem.

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen any amendments to your comments dickwad. Have your opinions changed, or are they still the same assinine ones you held before getting all the information? People jumping to conclusions about things they do not know the facts about are the problem. BTW, the mild profanities are fun aren't they? And they sure do a lot to advance a reasonable disagreement.

Bob Slatten said...

@Anon
I don't make "amendments" to the comments.

If you don't like my opinion, or the opinions of others, don't read them. Stick to your KKK handbook.

The facts speak for themselves but you're too stupid to read the ones that don't kiss the ass of your limited worldview.

As for the mild profanities ... fuck off. Better? Because your disagreement is far from reasonable so, again ... fuck off.

Anonymous said...

Too stupid? My IQ is 177. What is yours? However, I will fuck oof, because your bias and reverse racism does not allow you to consider that you could be wrong. Once again, jumping to conclusions without having the facts seems to be the M.O. Of dumbasses. Goodbye, and stay ignorant of the real world. That will allow you to feel superior without ever having to test anything.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I wasn't going to bring this up because I don't think it should matter, but my friends told me I had to. It's very funny that you said I have KKK views, because I am a black man. I guess you think that all of us have to think alike or we are not black enough. That is the epitome of racism. Examine yourself before you go accusing others.

Bob Slatten said...

Thought you were leaving?

My point, and I do have one, is that this is my blog, and when you come on here calling me names for my views you are ignorant and a bit of a tool, which has nothing to do with your color.

Now, leave, please.